Jacob Turner got shelled and the White Sox offense failed for the fifth straight game as they White Sox lost 8-1 in Anaheim to get swept in a three-game series. The offense did break their 32 inning scoreless streak but have now scored one run in their last 41 innings. Carson Fulmer made his MLB debut and pitched two scoreless innings.
Fulmer was called up from Birmingham on Friday and activated with Designated Hitter Justin Morneau.
Fulmer used four pitches well and changed speeds. He was able to mix in a four-seam fastball, changeup, curveball, and cutter. He broke in with a bang. Fulmer’s first hitter was future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols, who struck out on three pitches.
He started Pujols started off with a 94 mph four-seam fastball that was called a strike. Pujols swung and missed on an 85 MPH change for strike two and missed again on 80 MPH change for strike three.
Fulmer pitched two innings. He was clean except for hitting Andrleton Simmons who hit after Pujols. He set the side down in order in the eighth.
Fulmer had good command and control of his pitches and was efficient. In the 16 pitches that were not in play (including foul balls), Fulmer threw 11 strikes and five balls.
There have been a lot of questions about if Fulmer will be a starter or reliever. It has even been suggested that he could be a closer. One of the knocks on him is that at six feet tall he is too short to be a starter.
If he changes speeds as well as he did in his debut, uses all four pitches effectively and has good control there is no reason he shouldn’t be a good starter in the Majors.
Brooks Baseball took a look at where Fulmer threw the ball in the zone during spring training. In March in the thinner air of Arizona, he was able to move the ball around well. The only thing he didn’t do was pitch the ball up and in (towards righties).
After Jacob Turner’s abysmal performance today, a lot of media and fans are likely to be questioning why Fulmer wasn’t the starter. The White Sox decided to start Fulmer in the bullpen to give him a chance to get used to being a major league pitcher.
"White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper told Scott Gregor of the Daily Herald:“We did it with (Chris) Sale for a year and a half. Why wouldn’t it be the same deal with him? Maybe getting your feet wet in relief, finding spots and getting some experience, getting a lay of the land.”"
Dan Hayes of ComcastSportsNet Chicago reported that the White Sox worked with Fulmer on his delivery.
"In a post game interview Fulmer said:“I slowed down too much toward the beginning of the year…I was able to look at some footage of when I felt comfortable at Vanderbilt, and I was able to get back to where I was, the upward tempo and moving quicker from the start, is what has gotten me back.”"
Call to the Pen
Fulmer might not have been recalled without the season-ending injuries to Jake Petricka and Daniel Webb and an injury to Zach Putnam, who has been out for a month. Per Hayes, one of the keys for Fulmer has been getting his control worked out. Hayes said “He cut down on his walks per nine from 6.65 early on to 3.73 over his last seven games.”
Rick Hahn related to Hayes that he is impressed with Fulmer working through his struggles earlier in the season.
"“The high draft picks, have very likely never struggled for an extended period throughout their entire playing career as an amateur. So having them go through that period of struggle and then learning not only how to adapt and fight through the struggles, but arming themselves with the ability to overcome those difficulties when they inevitably arrive at the big league level, it’s definitely a positive in terms of the development"
How Fulmer adapts mentally and physically to varirty of situations in the majors will go a long way towards his success.